DOUBLE CROSSED: The Missionaries Who Spied for the United States During the Second World War

Matthew Avery Sutton

Basic Books, 2019

Agent: Sandra Dijkstra

The untold story of the Christian missionaries who played a crucial role in the allied victory in World War II 

What makes a good missionary makes a good spy. Or so thought "Wild" Bill Donovan when he launched a secret new program under the Office of Strategic Services. His recruits, in turn, believed an American victory would help them protect their foreign ministries and expand the kingdom of God.

In Double Crossed, historian Matthew Avery Sutton tells the extraordinary story of the entwined roles of spycraft and faith in World War II. Sutton shows how missionaries, though acutely aware of the conflict between their faith and their role as secret agents, nonetheless played an outsize part in the war, carrying out bombings and assassinations. After securing victory, those who survived helped establish the CIA, ensuring that religion continued to influence American foreign policy. 

Gripping and authoritative, Double Crossed is a remarkable account of the spiritual stakes of World War II.

“In a thrilling and remarkably original narrative, Matthew Avery Sutton explains the critical part missionaries played in American espionage during what was, for them, a holy war to save Christian civilization. For anyone who cares about the history of religion or the Second World War, this fine book will be a revelation.”
—Michael Kazin, author of War Against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918 and professor of history, Georgetown University

“In this brilliant book, Matthew Avery Sutton has recovered the long-hidden history of Americans who blurred the line between religious missions and secret missions in the Second World War. Rooted in painstaking research and written with powerful prose, Double Crossed is a must-read.”
—Kevin M. Kruse, author of One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America

"This provocative book illuminates little-discussed history and raises larger philosophical questions. It is an unusually fresh and intelligent addition to WWII literature."
Publishers Weekly